GdS: De Ketelaere’s season a ‘downward spiral’ – formation change may further complicate things

By Oliver Fisher -

Charles De Ketelaere was the marquee signing of the post-Scudetto summer window for AC Milan but he has somehow ended up on the periphery.

La Gazzetta dello Sport (via MilanNews) recall how De Ketelaere joined for over €30m after a long and arduous negotiation with Club Brugge, with hopes that he would be the attacking midfielder who could allow the squad to make a leap in quality.

Six months later that enthusiasm is gone as expectations have not been met by De Ketelaere who in turn has been less and less of a part of Stefano Pioli’s plans, with things unlikely to get better any time soon.

The three derbies against Inter are emblematic of De Ketelaere’s ‘downward spiral’. In the first one back in September, the Belgian showed flashes of his qualities and contributed to the 3-2 win. In the Supercoppa, he came on with the game already practically decided and then on Sunday in the return league game he didn’t even come on.

The season had begun with promising signs with good performances and an assist in the third league game against Bologna. That pass to Leao however remains the only goal contribution recorded by the 21-year-old in the Milan shirt.

Above all, there have been no goals which was what the club most expected when they signed him given he netted 18 last year for Club Brugge, and while it would be wrong to write off the possibility of him succeeding at Milan, signals are needed.

There was the hope that the second half of the season can bring about a change in gear but Pioli has now decided to switch to the three-man defence which has repercussions on Milan’s attacking phase.

De Ketelaere didn’t find a place in the 3-5-2 used against Inter as there is not really a role that matches his characteristics. We will therefore have to understand if Pioli wants to continue like this or change slightly, perhaps to a 3-4-1-2 that could give De Ketelaere space.

Tags AC Milan Charles De Ketelaere


  1. Pioli needs to wake up and utilize these players. If I were him personally I would play a two striker formation with CDK and Giroud up top

  2. Mr coach has taken personal pets to be in the starting 11. The newbies are left to rot in the bench. What can the newcomers do? Diaz sucks like a sore thumb but Poli loves him. What can Maldini do? Boss of Milan, give direct orders please 🙏. Berlusconi used to call ancelotti to tell him what he wants as he is the boss.

  3. I think playing him as a false nine in a 4-3-3 or in a 3-4-3/3-4-1-2 might help. He’s more talented than Diaz he’s just struggling to adapt his game and mentality. Fortunately these things are coachable.

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